Mt. Olympus will permanently close and dismantle an indoor roller coaster that injured a 63-year-old man March 6, according to a statement from the company.
In a report released Tuesday, the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services found several violations related to defective and worn parts on the Opa! Rollercoaster, which was under scrutiny after Fremont resident Anthony Theisen was thrown from the ride and fell 17 feet.
Theisen had been in a coma and on a respirator at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison, according to the family’s attorney, Todd Korb of the Milwaukee law firm of Hupy and Abraham. Korb said Theisen came out of the coma on Monday, but that the long-term effects of his brain injury are not known.
In the report, DSPS investigators noted that mechanical parts on the ride were worn and prevented the lap bar from locking into proper position during operation. They also discovered that the weight limit of 660 pounds per car on the ride was exceeded, as the group's total weight at the time of the incident was estimated to be 720 pounds.
In a statement, Mt. Olympus says the state’s findings about the lap bars are inconsistent with its internal investigation, but says the amusement park will permanently close the ride.
"Mt. Olympus has cooperated fully with State Department of Safety and Professional Services investigators in an effort to determine the root cause of the March 6 incident,” the company said in a statement. “Our engineers and safety experts concur with the state’s conclusion that Mt. Olympus properly assembled and installed the lap bar on the ride. However, other findings regarding weight limitations, bulletins and the inspection of lap bars are inconsistent with what our internal investigators found.”
The statement adds the accident was the first serious incident of this type in the theme park’s history.
"Mt. Olympus is a family-owned business that prides itself on providing high-quality family recreation and entertainment in a safe environment … Guest safety is a paramount goal at Mt. Olympus. We conduct strict daily inspections and regular maintenance of our rides, and all employees operating rides complete extensive operator training."
In addition to improving its maintenance practices, DSPS ordered Mt. Olympus to change its training procedures, including maintaining staff training records.
The Mt. Olympus statement says its internal investigation contradicts the state’s findings that the weight limit for the ride had been exceeded.